RESOLUTION

A RESOLUTION IN FAVOR OF AMTRAK’S PROPOSED NEW DAILY PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE IN THE US 29 CORRIDOR AND IN SUPPORT OF RELATED INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS

WHEREAS, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (VDRPT) is developing a State Rail Plan that will address the present and future needs for rail in the Commonwealth and provide a strategy to address them; and

WHEREAS, the State Rail Plan will address commuter, intercity, higher speed and high speed rail services as well as multimodal integration of rail with other modes of transportation; and           

WHEREAS, the VDRPT has asked for public input on the needs, priorities and rail improvements to be considered when developing the State Rail Plan; and

WHEREAS, the US 29 – Interstate 66 (Piedmont) rail corridor between Danville and Alexandria is home to 30% of the State’s population; and

WHEREAS, the cities, towns and counties of the US 29 Corridor have experienced significant residential and commercial growth and with it, significant increases in highway traffic, congestion and travel time on through trips; and

WHEREAS, fifty years ago, the Piedmont Corridor was served by 22 passenger trains a day operated by the Southern and C & O Railroads; and

WHEREAS, today, the Piedmont Corridor is served by only one daily round trip train (Amtrak’s Crescent) between New Orleans and New York, and for stations north of Charlottesville, by an additional train (Amtrak’s Cardinal) three days a week; and

WHEREAS, these long-distance trains are frequently overbooked, with most seats reserved for long-distance ticket holders, the schedule is not conducive to business travel, trains are frequently late, and the existing level and quality of passenger rail service offered by these trains cannot meet the demands of business travelers, tourists, students or the traveling public; and 

WHEREAS, increased passenger rail service offers an additional method of transportation to the Washington D.C. metropolitan area providing an additional alternative to transportation by automobile helping to ease congested roads in Fauquier County and the Washington D.C. metropolitan are; and

WHEREAS, the rising cost of oil and the environmental concerns brought on by carbon based emissions have heightened the interest in energy efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives to the automobile; and

WHEREAS, recognizing the Piedmont Corridor as an underserved market, Amtrak has recommended to VDRPT that steps be taken to implement new Lynchburg to Washington rail service “as soon as possible” including any capital improvements needed to the existing rail line by the host railroad; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak reports that the addition of a second daily train can be accomplished easily and at a relatively low cost; and

WHEREAS, ridership on the Piedmont Corridor can be expected to increase significantly as direct service results in reliable, on-time trains with available seats; and

WHEREAS, the Route 29 passenger rail corridor is significantly under-served compared to the I-95 corridor, where the State has made massive investments for rail infrastructure and operations; and 

WHEREAS, an application for State Rail Enhancement Funds (REF) for capital investments in the corridor in support of the proposed new Amtrak passenger service has been developed by Norfolk Southern Railroad and is included in the list of projects recommended by VDRPT for inclusion in the State’s 2009-2014 Six Year Improvement Program; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, by the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors this 12th day of June 2008, That the Board of Supervisors urges the VDRPT to include enhanced passenger rail service for the US 29 (Piedmont) Corridor in the State Rail Plan, specifically the proposed new daily direct service between Lynchburg and Washington, D.C. and on to New York and Boston, as proposed by Amtrak; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors urges the Commonwealth Transportation Board to approve VDRPT’s recommended REF funding for infrastructure investments needed to support new passenger service in the corridor; and, be it

RESOLVED FINALLY, That the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors requests that VDRPT identify the US 29 corridor as the State’s top priority for funding new rail service according to Amtrak’s recommended Short Term Action Plan for Advancing Passenger Rail in the Commonwealth.

A Copy Teste 

 Paul S. McCulla
Clerk to the Board of Supervisors

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